"In a Man's World" offers a well-documented analysis of the psychological and social forces that have made men silent about what matters most to them. Men fail to find words for things that matter in their innermost lives. Psychologists have known it for years; so have wives.
In the early 1970s research showed that men, unlike women, simply did not reveal their most intimate fears and hopes, hatreds and joys. They did not disclose their loves and jealousies, envies and infatuations. We have all heard about this "shroud of silence" that affects men of all ages. But what is new is research that shows there is a distinct cost -- both psychological and medical -- to that silence.
According to many experts in the medical field, sharing one's dearest thoughts and most heartfelt concerns is healthy. There is evidence that people who are in poor health are also people who fail to unburden themselves through talking and sharing of their problems. Troubled silence is a stress in itself; confiding is good for the soul.
"In a Man's World" examines how men do not relate to each other -- as fathers and sons, as brothers, as friends, as business associates and tennis partners.
A father is a son's first role model, and it is from the father that the son learns how to be a man. Being a man means being masculine, being powerful, exercising control -- or so a father teaches his son. Being a man means being inaccessible; the father often remains a silent and mysterious figure commanding reverence in the eyes of his son.
If a son learns well -- about the importance of power, achievement, competition and emotional inexpressiveness -- he will enter relationships with other people with caution and distrust. He will duplicate the patterns learned in the home in the outside world.
The training that boys receive early in their lives, and the dominant competitive theme in men's relationships, are clearly the reasons men fear and avoid intimacy. To do so would be considered weak and not masculine.
The predicament of the male of the 1980s centers on just three issues: women who no longer will put up with the silent, mysterious man of the past; a sense of fatherhood as it could be -- involved, openly caring, and joyous; and a glimmering among men themselves of what life might be like if only they could break out of the shroud of silence.
Perhaps most important of all for men is tha they are able to confront the barriers that have shut them off from other people. Even though men have been silenced by the early events of their lives, they need not be bound by them. If the true wish of men is live lives more enriched by feelings, then this book will offer a dose ofinsight.